One hundred years ago, Hungary was one of the most important wine producers in Europe. Every royal court in Europe clinked glasses filled with precious gold Tokaji (“toe-kye”) wine, while other lush Hungarian whites and reds were lauded and enjoyed throughout Europe.
Get to Know 4 of Hungary’s Top Wine Regions
The country is located between the 46th and 49th parallel which is actually the same latitude range as many of France’s top wine regions from Northern Rhone to Champagne. Hungary’s rolling hills are rich in volcanic soils and limestone–idyllic soil types for fine winemaking.
Top Wines: Egri Bikavér red blend, Egri Csillag white blend
Soils: Brown forest topsoils cover volcanic rhyolite tuff with limestone and broken rock.
Eger is in the north, about 86 miles northeast of Budapest. Grapes grow natively on Eger’s rolling terrain; in fact, scientists actually identified a 30 million-year-old wine grape fossil in Eger, among the modern-day vineyards. Eger is best known for two of its native blends: the Bikaver, or “Bull’s Blood” (a red blend), and the Egri Csillag, or “Star of Eger” (a white blend).
Egri Bikavér (“egg-ree BEE-kah-vaer”)
Egri Bikavér means “bull’s blood” and, as the name implies, it can be a pretty badass red blend, rich in tannin and spice. Legend claims that the wine gets its name from a famous incident during the Ottoman siege of Eger in 1552, when the Hungarian troops were caught drinking copious amounts of spicy red wine by Turkish onlookers. Seeing the bloodshot eyes, red-stained beards, and fiery temperaments of the wine-drinking Hungarians, the Turkish soldiers rushed back to their captain, insisting that the Hungarians were not to be messed with for they had been drinking the blood of a bull!
The blend today is Eger’s flagship wine. By regulation, the blend must be made of at least three grapes and at least 50% percent must be a native red grape, which is typically Kékfrankos (“cake-fronk-kosh”), although Kadarka qualifies too. Expect a rustic, fiery, fuller-bodied wine with dark jammy forest fruits and good acidity.
Wine & Style’s wineries from Eger are St.Andrea and Kovács Nimród
“Our wines are never overpowering, more elegant and always with a superb freshness. We have perfect conditions for production of quality wine”, – György Lőrincz Jr of Saint Andrea Winery in Eger. (Forbes Magazine)
What inspires you the most?
György Lőrincz, jnr : I had the opportunity to gain experience in some very serious places. I worked in Tokaj, I took part in the work of Austrian organic estate Sepp Moser and I harvested at the Saint Clair estate in New Zealand. Now, I would like to learn from the Hungarian winemaker I regard as one of the best, here at St. Andrea. What inspires me is to make with my father such worthy wine, which can glorify the Eger wine region, Hungarian wine and the Lord.
„We are awarded with medals at International Wine Challenge”
20014 & 2015 ’Winery of the year’ – Borigo Magazine
What can one learn in New-Zealand?
György Lőrincz, jr: Awareness, cleanliness and precision. They pay attention to everything from the grapes to the glass. We also strive to do everything to the best of our knowledge in order to achieve and maintain excellence in terms of quality.
We even use better quality corks.
We’ve changed the majority of our barrels to new ones.
We’ve carved out new branches in the cellar that are nicely ventilated. Soon we’ll appear on the market with our own new bottles.
Bortársaság [bortarsasag.hu], Wine Folly [winefolly.com]
Kovács Nimród Winery
Nimród Kovács aims high, he wishes to conquer the entire world with his wines. He does not simply want to make excellent Eger wines, but compete with the biggest and most acknowledged wineries of the world and be stably present at international markets.
„We endeavor to create world class wines, that most compellingly reflect the unique characteristics of the 3 Grand Superior terroirs we own, in the cool climate Eger wine region.”
Nimród Kovács is the gastro-winemaker of the year
„We are getting to enjoy the fruit of ou labor” – Nimród Kovács is the gastro-winemaker of the year.
Nimród Kovács was selected the gastro-winemaker of the year by the vast majority of Hungary’s best restaurants at the Best of Budapest & Hungary this year. The organizers involved in the voting most of the Michelin-starred restaurants of Budapest.
Gold Medals for Eger Wines in the US
„We got the best news yesterday, 5 of our wines were awarded with gold medals at one of the most acknowledged American wine comeptition, at the Chicago Beverage Testing Institute.” – Nimród Kovács